What is it that makes people want to live in foundation-less houses — and in such Stygian weather too?
As the skies brood greyer, drizzle fattens into rain and the weather forecast threatens snow. They receive fresh fish from Cornwall daily, box it up and drive it out to Waitroses and fishmongers across London. Such is the beauty of London; sometimes it couldn't feel further detached from itself.
But you have to love the water. But this isn't exactly an industry that's thriving. He moved aboard the Charlotte Sara from a Twickenham housing estate, and much prefers island life.
Add to that those who call Swan Island home, and you have a singular London community. The shipyard expanded onto it and, from the s, people were invited to live here.
The boatyard remains the heart of the island. The entrance leading onto the island.
You could throw it away at the end of the year and still have paid less than an annual rail ticket. Untilsomeone was living on a Dunkirk small ship.
As we edge down onto the pontoons that form narrow, unsteady streets between boats, we run into Adam Brown. Island life must be in the company's blood; before they came to Swan Island, they were stationed just upstream at Platt's Eyot.
One of them is on the slip today.
Other boatyards haven't weathered the storm. The proximity of the vessels is something we've clocked too: A small house by the slip. One of the purpose-built floating houses.
Swan Island seems to float further away from the mainland, and reality. The big pleasure boats you see in central London sail up here for a spruce up.
To be fair it's a lot cheaper going into London on a help with dating website profile than it is any other way. Frank had the last laugh, leaping at an opportunity to buy the entire island.
In practise, it's only those who own their boats who make any real saving. Artist Tristram Ellam-Bell comes the colony sally and reno dating to see what's going online dating in tirupati, as we clank about on a particularly wobbly strip of pontoon outside his boat.
They get on the bike, hit the button and drive.
Tough Brothers Boatyard in Twickenham once built hulking great ships. Others onsite include a guy who specialises in jazz and blues vinyl reissuesand a Japanese shoji screen maker. And not many people know about Swan Island.
That's just one of the downsides. A happier story can be found on neighbouring Eel Pie Island, where the boatyard's still going great guns.
That's on anything from foot day boats to foot houseboats. Fiona herself lives on terra firma in Kew.
The Thames's two fire boats — which slurp up the river water before spewing it out again — are serviced here, too. Looking to use his skills in a different area, Frank got involved with boats, setting up a shipyard just off the island.
Coal is an expensive but necessary commodity.